The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 23 November 2019

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortia and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R. Curry
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice

PDF: The Sentinel_ period ending 23 Nov 2019

:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities   [see PDF]
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates
:: Journal Watch – Key articles and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals  [see PDF]

30th Anniversary of the Adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Statement by SRSG Gamba

Children – CRC 30th Anniversary

30th Anniversary of the Adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Statement by SRSG Gamba
Wednesday, 20 November 2019
Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
Concern for children’s rights and their protection has brought world leaders together in 1989 to make a historical commitment to children and adopt a common standard around which to rally. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is however much more than a human rights convention for the protection of children and the fulfillment of their rights. It is the recognition that children, including those affected by armed conflict, are holders of human rights and should be considered not only as objects of protection but also as individuals who can be agents of change by exercising their rights.

The Convention says that childhood is separate from adulthood and lasts until 18; it is a protected time, in which children must be allowed to grow, learn, play, develop and flourish with dignity and without discrimination. Conflict was and remains however the greatest threat to that principle and to the realization of children’s rights contained in the Convention. For children trapped in conflict zones the concept of childhood as set forth in the Convention oftentimes stays a distant dream. At the same time, during times of war the vulnerability of children is compounded by the violence and turbulence which accompany conflict and children are more than ever in dire need of specific protection.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is at the heart of the international legal framework for the protection of children affected by armed conflict and a guiding source of operative principles and standards for the mandate that I represent. A direct link with this protection can be found in its article 38 on the recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts and its article 39 stressing that States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of armed conflict. Other rights contained in the Convention are also important for the protection of children affected by armed conflict— such as the right to birth registration and the right to acquire a nationality (Article 7). Even during armed conflict states parties are required to ensure that all children, boys and girls, are effectively protected against all forms of physical, sexual or other forms of violence, abuse or exploitation as it says in Articles 19, 32–38 and to implement the rights which are critical for children’s survival and development, including the right to the highest attainable standard of health (Article 24), the right to benefit from social security (Article 26), the right to an adequate standard of living (Article 27), the right to education (Article 28), and the right to rest and leisure and to engage in play and in recreational and cultural activities (Article 31).

While an appropriate tool for the protection of children affected by armed conflict the Convention is a starting – rather than an ending – point. The standards contained therein have thus been upgraded at international level including through the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict as well as at regional level through amongst others the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. They have been further strengthened through resolutions of the UN Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict as well as through political commitments such as the Paris Principles, the Safe Schools Declaration and the Vancouver Principles.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Standards set only on paper do not change the world for children affected by war. What is needed is their full implementation through the adoption of national laws and policies as well as enforcement initiatives addressing violations of children’s rights in conflict. I am calling on all of you here today to turn good intentions into real change for children. Let me finish with the words of Nelson Mandela: “Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation”. This remains true for all of us. Thank you.

Children paying a high price for inequality – OECD Report

Children – Inequality

Children paying a high price for inequality
19/11/2019 – Rising income inequalities in OECD countries over the past two decades have hit vulnerable children hard, making it less likely they will fulfill their economic and social potential later in life, according to a new OECD report.

Changing the Odds for Vulnerable Children: Building Opportunities and Resilience says that the challenges some children face significantly raise the risk that they become disadvantaged in adulthood, putting the brakes on social mobility. Yet early investment in education, health and families yields high returns later in life.

Children who grow up in poor families have less access to quality education and health care. As young people, they are likely to enter the labour market at an earlier age than their peers and take up low-skilled jobs at a time when technological change and globalisation are increasing the returns to education.

Child poverty has increased in almost two-thirds of OECD countries over the past decade, with one in seven children in the OECD growing up in poverty today. The living standards of children from low-income families have also declined in many countries, particularly for those families with the smallest incomes.

The report also reveals homelessness among families has risen significantly in England, Ireland, New Zealand and some US states. For children, homelessness can lead to increased anxiety, loss of contact with family and friends and poor educational outcomes.

“The odds are stacked against vulnerable children and countries need to act now,” said Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff and Leader of the OECD’s Inclusive Growth Initiative, launching the report during a conference at the OECD on the issue of vulnerable children, which included an address by Nobel Prize Peace Winner Kailash Satyarthi. “More efforts are needed and quickly to redress the balance to create a level playing field and ensure that the children who are worst off can get the better deal they deserve. Countries should quickly put in place child well-being strategies that prioritise the needs of vulnerable children.”

Children with disabilities, for example, are twice as likely to live in poor households. Maltreatment is also a major issue, with around 4-16% of children experiencing physical abuse, 10% neglect or emotional abuse and over childhood 5-10% of girls and 1-5% of boys experience sexual abuse. Chronic stress in early childhood can also have long-term consequences for cognitive and social and emotional development, as well as children’s health.

The odds can be changed when vulnerable children are given the right support to build resilience, says the report. This includes providing children with opportunities to build positive relationships with adults, providing early intervention for mental health difficulties and supporting parents. Programmes such as mentoring, arts education, youth mental health projects and family resource centres empower children and family to overcome adversity and disadvantage.

Direct investments in low-income children’s health and education generate the highest pay-off, many paying for themselves in the long run through increased tax revenue and lower social transfers.

Countries need to put in place policies to tackle these issues, ranging from empowering vulnerable families and enhancing child protection, to giving every child the opportunity of starting education early and reducing child poverty. Early intervention is key and should be prioritised, as young children under three years old are especially affected by family stress and material deprivation because of the rapid pace of early brain development.

In a separate report released at the conference Building Resilience in Vulnerable Children, the OECD revealed the changing patterns of family life. Across the OECD on average, 4 in 5 children live in couple families, but over the past 10 years, the share of children living with informally cohabiting parents has increased from 10 to 16%. Around 17% of children also live in single parent families. Yet a child in a single parent family is three times more likely to be poor than a child in a couple family.

The partnership status of parents should not affect entitlements to child-related support within tax and benefit systems, says the report. However, less than two thirds of OECD countries allow non-married couples to register their partnerships or grant them the tax and benefit advantages available to married couples.

Tax and benefit systems need to be more responsive to changes in children’s living arrangements. This will require better information systems, as well as simpler and more transparent benefit rules and needs assessment criteria in order to help social policy treat all children equally…

Convention on tourism ethics is major step towards tackling child exploitation, say UN human rights experts

Children – Tourism; Exploitation

Convention on tourism ethics is major step towards tackling child exploitation, say UN human rights experts
GENEVA / NEW YORK (19 November 2019) – UN experts on human rights* have urged all States to sign up to a framework convention on the ethics of tourism, which they hailed as an important step forward in combating the exploitation of children in travel and tourism, and in promoting their rights.
“There is an urgent need to tackle the violence and exploitation experienced by children in the context of travel and tourism,” the experts said.

“No country is immune from this grave problem, which has expanded across the globe and has out-paced efforts to respond at the international and national levels.

“The Framework Convention is an important tool for shining a light on the violence and exploitation suffered by children in the context of travel and tourism, and for spurring action to end it. It aims to ensure that tourism develops in line with human rights law. We urge all States to become party to it.”
The Framework Convention, adopted by the UN World Tourism Organization in September 2019, endorses the principle that tourism activities should respect gender equality and promote human rights, especially the individual rights of children, older persons, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, and members of other vulnerable groups.

It notes that the exploitation of human beings in any form, particularly sexual, especially when applied to children, conflicts with the fundamental aims of tourism.

“The Framework Convention was preceded by a Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, which was very valuable in promoting responsible and ethical tourism and tackling the exploitation of children. However, moving from a voluntary set of guidelines to a binding international instrument sends a strong signal that Member States are ready to accelerate their action and to enhance accountability in this field,” the experts said.

States that ratify the Framework Convention will be required to combat and penalise the exploitation of children, especially sexual exploitation. It adds to the existing body of international law devoted to protecting children and prohibiting child labour, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

It will also help deliver the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which has targets on promoting sustainable tourism and ending violence against children.

“These targets are linked to each other and help reinforce each other,” the experts said. “Safeguarding children from discrimination, exclusion, violence and exploitation is indispensable to ensuring that all forms of tourism are truly responsible and sustainable.

“We look forward to working with the UN World Tourism Organization, States, civil society partners, the business sector and others to promote the swift ratification and effective implementation of the Framework Convention.”

The UN experts also hope that by implementing it, Member States will ensure that workers’ rights will be fully respected in line with international standards, and that businesses in the tourism sector will be held accountable for rights violations including trafficking for labour exploitation in their supply chains.

*UN experts:
Ms Najat Maalla, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children; Ms Maud De Boer-Buquicchio, Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children;
Ms Urmila Bhoola, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences;
Ms Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities;
Ms Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children;
Mr Saad Alfarargi,Special Rapporteur on the Right to development;
Mr Dainius Pūras, Special Rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health;
Ms E. Tendayi Achiume, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;
Ms Rosa Kornfeld-Matte,Independent expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons;
Ms Victoria Tauli-Corpuz,Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

DECLARATION OF THE 9th WORLD SCIENCE FORUM :: Science Ethics and Responsibility

Science Ethics and Responsibility
Text adopted on 23 November 2019, Budapest

With the encouragement and support of the partner organisations of the World Science Forum, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the International Science Council (ISC), the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), and the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC), we the participants of the 9th World Science Forum, held from 20-23 November 2019 in Budapest, adopt the present declaration.

World Science Forum (WSF), an outcome of the 1999 World Conference on Science, is a biennial event that since 2003 has been successfully assembling scientists, policymakers, industry leaders, civil society and the media to discuss the role of science in meeting global challenges.

In line with the recommendations of the 1999 World Conference on Science (WCS) on Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge, and taking into account the 2011 Budapest Declaration on the New Era of Global Science, the 2013 Rio de Janeiro Declaration on Science for Global Sustainable Development, the 2015 Budapest Declaration on The Enabling Power of Science, and the 2017 Jordan Declaration on Science for Peace we reaffirm our commitment to the rigorous and ethical conduct of scientific research and the responsible use of scientific knowledge.

Science, Ethics and Responsibility –20 years after the 1999 World Conference on Science
The Declaration on Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge endorsed by representatives of 155 governments in Budapest at the 1999 UNESCO World Conference of Science was a pioneering document outlining a clear vision for science and society in the 21st century. It defined an expanded role and responsibility for science in a new era of human history in which science and technology are primary drivers of societal change.

Indeed, in the past 20 years, we have seen a revolution in multiple fields of scientific research coupled with deep and ongoing change in our societies. New scientific discoveries in fields such as information and communication technologies, synthetic biology and gene editing, artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning have further increased the pace at which science and technology impact our environment and society, with the potential to entrench rather than reduce inequalities.

Environmental and social challenges including demography, climate change, pollution and water security have raised new expectations for science.

Globally, investment in research and development has greatly increased, and new state and non-state actors have reshaped the established global order and impacted the production of scientific knowledge and the distribution of science investment and funding.

In our societies transformed by the rise of new communication channels and social media, scientific knowledge is increasingly challenged in public discourse by opinions and beliefs based on distrust, insufficient engagement, poor science literacy, and inefficient communication of science to the public and policymakers. At a time of accelerating global change, it is particularly important that young people in all societies have access to scientific education.

:: We recall the 1999 Declaration on Science and the use of Scientific Knowledge and acknowledge the growing importance of the message of “Science for the 21st Century: A New Commitment” as presented in its recommendations.

:: We must ensure shared responsibility for ethical considerations to be recognised as intrinsic to defining the objectives of scientific inquiry, making funding allocations, and conducting, disseminating and applying research. This should apply in particular to the education and inclusion of young and emerging scientists and innovators.

:: We foster a proactive culture of self-regulation by scientists.

:: We embrace the Principle of Freedom and Responsibility in Science adopted by ISC member organisations, the renewed Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers adopted by UNESCO, and the AAAS Statement on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility as reference documents for further consideration.

:: We celebrate 20 years of international science dialogue since the 1999 World Conference on Science and 100 years since the establishment of the International Research Council, the first non-governmental organisation to foster scientific collaboration on a global scale. We affirm our commitment to scientific responsibility for the global public good through attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


[1] Science for global well-being
The value of science cannot be measured solely by its contribution to economic prosperity. Science is a global public good with the ability to contribute to sustainable development and global well-being.

:: We recognise the responsibilities of scientists to conduct and apply science with integrity, in the interest of humanity, for well-being and with respect to human rights.

:: We call for the reassessment of science and funding policies recognizing the value of science as a tool to push the boundaries of human knowledge, to promote universal well-being, to monitor, analyse and respond to environmental, social and economic challenges, and to address the capacity needs of scientifically lagging countries.

:: We embrace the freedom of scientists to plan and conduct research that may not be specifically responsive to any immediate socio-economic or environmental expectations. Good science must be free to fly when curiosity is the driving factor.


[2] Strengthen global standards in research integrity
In the world of globalised science there is a growing need for the harmonisation and promotion of research integrity which includes common codes of conduct and their enforcement. This should apply especially for rapidly developing areas of science and research performed by transnational entities.

:: We call for harmonisation and enforcement of standards of conduct of scientific research across borders and across public and private research.

:: We acknowledge that worthy research requires more than intellectual merit and impact; it must be ethical, inclusive, and socially responsible.

:: We call for the establishment of self-regulatory processes by which scientists can report suspected research misconduct and other irresponsible research practices, without fear of reprisal, and the establishment of procedures for responding to such allegations.

:: We support regional and national efforts to promote global standards of research integrity, and in particular we celebrate the emergence from World Science Forum 2017 of the Charter of Ethics of Science and Technology in the Arab Region.


[3] Fulfilment of academic freedom and the human right to science
While acknowledging that the principle of academic freedom is supported and promoted by science organisations globally, there is little consensus on the conditions that enable its fulfilment. In an evolving era in which science is increasingly dependent on research infrastructure, research funding, and top-down policy agendas, the concept of academic freedom must be revisited.

Academic freedom must operate at every point in the research process. It must encompass the autonomy of researchers and research institutions, access to peer-reviewed scientific knowledge and data without systemic barriers, access to research infrastructure and funding, and the freedom to set bottom-up research agendas in all fields of science, including social sciences, and the freedom to communicate scientific results.

:: We acknowledge that scientific freedom can only be respected by society if it is based on strict ethical principles.

:: We call on the international scientific community to develop new standards for the fulfilment of academic freedom, and to create tools to describe, monitor and measure its integral conditions.
We acknowledge the vital nature of curiosity-driven basic sciences. We welcome the UNESCO’s designation of 2022 as the International Year of Basic Sciences for Development.

:: We reaffirm our support for the rights of refugee and other displaced scientists.

:: We reinforce our commitment to promote the right to science for all—including those underrepresented and underserved by science, such as women and minorities —as an essential precursor to sustainable and prosperous societies and durable peace.


[4] The responsibility and ethics of communicating science
The pace of scientific discovery has quickened, but barriers to scientific information and the benefits of research remain. The increased complexity and volume of scientific information requires new methods of data validation and research dissemination. While the application of artificial intelligence opens new paths for the management of scientific research and data, it also raises concerns about privacy, control and the use of personal data. Such developments alter the landscape of access to knowledge and present challenges in transitioning to novel publishing models and the application of new communication strategies.

:: We reinforce our commitment to science as a global public good and support open science and new publishing models that grant access to scientific publications.

:: We recognize the importance of scientists engaging with the public about science, including the risks associated with its conduct or application and the acknowledgement of other interpretations of research.

:: We encourage scientists to foster citizen science and to promote the co-creation of actionable knowledge.

:: We recognize the imperatives for evidence-informed decision-making and a stronger science-policy-practice interface and, therefore, the need for scientists to be trained to communicate their work to decision-makers and the general public.

:: We recognize the powerful role of media in communicating scientific information and call for rigorous fact checking and analysis in reporting. We call for a reassessment of science’s relationship with media, particularly in view of conflicting or misleading news and information, and the use of false equivalence.

:: We encourage scientists to produce, apply and communicate science and to raise awareness of both the benefits and ethical considerations.

100 Countries Now Commit to Ending Attacks on Education


100 Countries Now Commit to Ending Attacks on Education
Incidents of the Military Use of Schools Decline in Countries Endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration

(New York, November 20, 2019) The recent endorsements by Morocco, Vietnam, the Marshall Islands, Vanuatu and Ukraine bring the total number of states that have joined the Safe Schools Declaration to 100, the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) said today. Ukraine became the 100th country to endorse the declaration today.

“More than half of all United Nations members have now joined the Safe Schools Declaration, representing a critical mass of countries committed to protecting students, teachers, their schools and universities from attack,” said Diya Nijhowne, GCPEA’s Executive Director. “The remaining governments should also sign on and fully implement the Declaration if the UN Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved, not only for education but all the goals, as they are inextricably linked to safe education for all.”

The Safe Schools Declaration is an inter-governmental political commitment to protect education in armed conflict led by the governments of Argentina and Norway and launched in May 2015, with GCPEA’s active support. By endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration, governments commit to improve monitoring and reporting of attacks on education and military use of schools, assist victims of attacks, prosecute perpetrators, and promote measures that enable safe education to continue during war. By joining the Declaration, governments also endorse and commit to use the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict.

Between 2015 and mid-2019, GCPEA identified nearly 10,000 reported incidents of attacks on education harming over 17,800 students, teachers, and education personnel across all levels of education. GCPEA identified a systematic pattern of attacks on education in 37 countries in this period, and collected reports of military use of schools and universities in 32 countries…

In its new fact sheet, Practical Impact of the Safe Schools Declaration, GCPEA presents a growing body of evidence showing how the Safe Schools Declaration is helping to protect education from targeted and indiscriminate attack during armed conflict. It also underscores a significant decline in schools and universities being used as bases and barracks, weapons stores, detention centers, and for other military purposes.

In 2018, GCPEA found at least 80 reported incidents of military use of schools and universities, a drop from 2015, when GCPEA identified at least 160 reported incidents, among the 12 countries that endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration in 2015 and experienced at least one incident of military use of schools…

Four private foundations announce they will provide at least $20 million in a combined grantmaking initiative to strengthen women’s funding organizations around the world

Philanthropy – “Women’s Funding Organizations”

Four private foundations announce they will provide at least $20 million in a combined grantmaking initiative to strengthen women’s funding organizations around the world
November 20, 2019
Four private US foundations announced today that they are providing at least $20 million in a combined effort to strengthen women’s funds—organizations that provide financial and other support to advance the human rights and opportunities of women, girls, and LGBTQI people in countries around the world.

Women’s funds have a long track record of knowing where and how to support organizations working to achieve gender equality in their communities, countries, and regions. Today, they are leading women’s rights movements in some of the most challenging contexts and informing philanthropic donors in supporting those efforts.

The initiative will help women’s funds invest in their own organizations—strengthening infrastructure, leadership, communications, fundraising, learning, and other efforts—to help them maximize their impact and achieve their goals.

Foundation for a Just Society, the Open Society Foundations, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation have designed the five-year initiative in consultation with women’s funds.

“We at Prospera International Network of Women’s Funds see this initiative as a great opportunity for ensuring a healthy and vibrant ecosystem for funding women’s rights and gender justice throughout the world. By strengthening the capacity of women’s funds to better operate and respond to a rapidly changing world, these funders will be able to better support feminist movements at the forefront of social change,” said Emilienne de León, executive director of Prospera International Network of Women’s Funds.

New Venture Fund (NVF) has been selected by the four foundations through a competitive process as the initiative’s fiscal sponsor and will provide guidance and administrative support to the initiative. NVF will in turn be supported by Arabella Advisors, a philanthropic consulting firm.

Women’s funds have received significant new resources from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Global Affairs Canada, and several private foundations in recent years. However, the vast majority of these resources are used to make grants to smaller, grassroots organizations working to advance women’s rights and not to support the development of women’s funds. This reflects the limitations of bilateral funding and the commitment of women’s funds to support feminist movements.

This initiative is designed to build women’s funds own organizational capacity—by using the resources to invest in areas such as communications; resource mobilization; leadership; information technology; and monitoring, evaluation, and learning, among others…

In addition to helping women’s funds strengthen their own organizational capacity, the donors aim to make women’s funds more visible to other funders and supporters of women’s and LGBTQI rights. The money will also support efforts to help women’s funds learn from one another and for philanthropic organizations to learn from them as well…

This press release is also available in Spanish, French, and Brazilian Portuguese.